NFL Week 17 predictions: What’s on the line in every game

Tampa, FL – September 24, 2018 – Raymond James Stadium: Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a regular season Monday Night Football game (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports

Here’s my preview of Week 17 of the NFL season with the schedule, my predicted winners and some great notes directly from the league office.

Join myself and other Sports Animal hosts on The NFL Report Sundays from 10am to 12:30pm as we break down all the games in great detail. That will be followed by the NFL Game of the Week from Sports USA Media with a top tier early kickoff live broadcast.

Week 16 Prediction Record: 12-4
2018 Season Prediction Record: 149-90 (62%)


NFL WEEK 17 SCHEDULE:
#GAME 256 – INDIANAPOLIS COLTS-TENNESSEE TITANS TO MEET ON
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ON NBC

A look at the final Week 17 schedule (all times ET)
Vinny’s predicted winners in BOLD!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM FOX
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM FOX
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers 1:00 PM FOX
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans 1:00 PM CBS
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM CBS
New York Jets at New England Patriots 1:00 PM CBS
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM FOX
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings 4:25 PM FOX
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers 4:25 PM CBS
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens 4:25 PM CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos 4:25 PM CBS
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 PM CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins 4:25 PM FOX
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM FOX
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans 8:20 PM NBC

IT’S ALL ON THE LINE IN WEEK 17

— 13 of the 16 games in Week 17 feature at least one team in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII —

It’s the final push for NFL teams as the regular season ends on Sunday, December 30. All 16 games are division contests and with one week to go, there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII.

WEEK 17: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30

GAME TIME (ET) TV
Atlanta at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Carolina at New Orleans 1:00 PM FOX
Dallas at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Detroit at Green Bay 1:00 PM FOX
Jacksonville at Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Miami at Buffalo 1:00 PM CBS
New York Jets at New England 1:00 PM CBS
Arizona at Seattle 4:25 PM FOX
Chicago at Minnesota 4:25 PM FOX
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh 4:25 PM CBS
Cleveland at Baltimore 4:25 PM CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver 4:25 PM CBS
Oakland at Kansas City 4:25 PM CBS
Philadelphia at Washington 4:25 PM FOX
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM FOX
Indianapolis at Tennessee 8:20 PM NBC

Nine of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Five of the eight divisions have been clinched. And there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17. For the full Week 17 playoff scenarios, click here.

In the AFC, four teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason: New England (10-5, AFC East), Houston (10-5, playoff berth), Kansas City (11-4, playoff berth) and the Los Angeles Chargers (11-4, playoff berth).

Baltimore (9-6) and Pittsburgh (8-6-1) are vying for the AFC North title. Indianapolis (9-6) and Tennessee (9-6) face off on NBC’s Sunday Night Football at 8:20 PM ET in a win-and-you’re-in battle. Houston can clinch the AFC South title with a win this week, but the winner of the Indianapolis-Tennessee game would take the division crown with a Houston loss.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots, including all four division winners: Dallas (9-6, NFC East), Chicago (11-4, NFC North), New Orleans (13-2, NFC South), the Los Angeles Rams (12-3, NFC West) and Seattle (9-6, playoff berth).

Minnesota (8-6-1) and Philadelphia (8-7) are in contention for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC. The Vikings are in position to clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the Eagles need a win and a Minnesota loss to secure their postseason entry.

The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010, have completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons. If Houston clinches the AFC South on Sunday, it would mark the second consecutive season that two teams go from worst to first (Jacksonville and Philadelphia in 2017) – something that has never happened before in any other major US sport.

Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

With one week remaining, five teams have already qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 – the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.  That number could swell to as many as seven if both the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts qualify for the postseason on Sunday.

A look at some of the key games in Week 17:

CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-9) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13-2) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Saints have clinched the NFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

DALLAS COWBOYS (9-6) at NEW YORK GIANTS (5-10) (Sunday, FOX, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (5-10) at HOUSTON TEXANS (10-5) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Texans, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC South with a win. They can also clinch a first-round bye with a win and a New England loss, and can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with losses by New England, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers.

NEW YORK JETS (4-11) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-5) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)                

  • The Patriots, who have won the AFC East, can earn a first-round bye with a win or if Baltimore, Houston and Tennessee all lose.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-12) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-6) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth and will enter the NFC playoffs as the No. 5 or 6 seed.

CHICAGO BEARS (11-4) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-6-1) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Bears, who have clinched the NFC North, can secure a first-round bye with a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss.
  • The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Philadelphia loss.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-9) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (8-6-1) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Steelers can claim the AFC North with a win and a Baltimore loss.

CLEVELAND BROWNS (7-7-1) at BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-6) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Ravens can win the AFC North with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (11-4) at DENVER BRONCOS (7-8) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Chargers, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win combined with a Kansas City loss.

OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-11) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4) (Sunday, CBS, 4:25 PM ET)

  • The Chiefs, who have clinched a playoff berth, can claim the AFC West division title, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. A Los Angeles Chargers loss would also give the Chiefs the AFC West crown.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-7) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-8) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • ​The Eagles can secure a playoff berth with a win combined with a Minnesota loss.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (4-11) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (12-3) (Sunday, FOX, 4:25 PM ET)                

  • The Rams have won the NFC West and can clinch a first-round bye with a win or a Chicago loss.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-6) at TENNESSEE TITANS (9-6) (Sunday, NBC, 8:20 PM ET)

  • ​The winner of this game locks up a playoff spot.
  • The Colts can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss.
  • The Titans can clinch the AFC South division title with a win combined with a Houston loss. With a win and losses by Houston, New England and Baltimore, the Titans would secure a first-round bye. ​

Find more of my blogs here on SportsRadioWNML.com and my broadcasting work at VinceSports.net.

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